WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body can no longer control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 34 million adults in the U.S. have Diabetes, and one in five do not know they have it. If left untreated, Diabetes can lead to severe health complications, including organ damage, amputation, blindness and even death. There are three types of Diabetes, Gestational, Type 1, and Type 2.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant women and usually goes away once the baby has been born. Unfortunately, having Gestational Diabetes can put you and your baby at risk for Type 2 Diabetes later in life and put your child at risk for developing Obesity.
Type 1 Diabetes is an immune disorder resulting in the loss of insulin-producing cells. Insulin regulates the amount of sugar circulating in the blood. When the blood sugar level is too high, insulin begins storing excess sugar in the liver. If insulin is not present, the excess sugar travels directly to the major organs and can cause serious damage. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teens and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes affects older adults and is a condition where insulin is still produced, but the body is not utilizing it correctly to control the level of glucose in the blood. This can result in the some of the same complications seen in Type 1 diabetics. Over 90% of all that have Diabetes, have Type 2.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms are the most prevalent in those with Type 1 Diabetes and include thirst, hunger, loss of weight, excessive need to urinate, blurry vision, numbness in the hands or feet, dry skin, sores that are slow to heal, and an increase in infections. Gestational Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes are asymptomatic. That is why screening tests are so important.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Initial testing may involve a simple finger stick or blood draw to determine the amount of sugar in your blood usually after you have fasted overnight. If your blood sugar level is determined to be high, you may need to take a glucose tolerance test to determine how well your body clears out excess glucose. Finally, a hemoglobin A1c test may be done to provide an estimation of your blood sugar level for the last 2 or 3 months.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Treatment options depend on the type of Diabetes that you have. Type 1 Diabetes is treated with insulin injections, and Gestational and Type 2 are usually controlled with modifications to the diet and an increase in exercise. Type 2 Diabetes can also be treated with insulin or oral diabetic medications if diet and exercise alone are not sufficient to keep blood sugar levels under control. Because diabetes affects a large portion of our patients, Esse Health created a Diabetes Wellness Program to help patients achieve their healthiest life possible. Using education, technology, group meetings – including our monthly Taking Care of Diabetes meetings – and outstanding medical care, your Esse Health team partners with you to help control your Diabetes. Most Esse Health doctors have been recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for delivering the highest quality of care to their patients with diabetes. Talk to your Esse Health doctor about how the Esse Health team can help you control your diabetes.
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